My Road to Becoming a Rescue Dog Foster Parent
Yesterday I found out that I was approved to become a rescue dog foster parent.
I’m really excited and can’t wait to bring home my first foster rescue dog.
So why am I doing this? Humor me a moment and let me start from the beginning.
Adopting a Rescue Dog Changed My Life:
I’ve never really thought about adopting a dog. In fact, over the last 15 years I’ve owned 2 homes that had nice backyards. I could easily have fenced in both yards and offered a nice play space for a dog.
But I didn’t. I had a cat.
I adopted Betsy from the Humane Society of MO when I was just out of college. While I would have liked to get a dog, it wasn’t practical. I lived by myself in a 2nd floor apartment with a balcony. I worked long hours and knew that I didn’t want to have to walk a dog at 7 AM and after getting home from work, and it wouldn’t be fair to keep a dog cooped up all day.
So I adopted a kitten.
I loved Betsy and she spent 12 years with me before I lost her to kidney disease. After she was gone, I thought about getting another cat but was ready for a break from having fur everywhere (I’m a bit of a neat freak). I also had gotten serious at one point with a guy who was very allergic to her, and since a lot of people are allergic to cats and I’m still single, I decided to wait a bit before getting another cat.
Then I got really used to not having fur anywhere and not having a smelly litter box that I always was putting off cleaning.
So I ended up pet free for years.
I really thought I wasn’t a dog person. I found it annoying when dog owners let their dogs rush you as you entered the door, assuming you were ok with them all over you. I liked mellow dogs, but really didn’t think I would ever own one unless I ended up with a guy who already had a dog.
I’m not really sure what made me start thinking about adopting a dog but I know it was around November 2012. I had a rough year. A lot of things happened that I’m not going to go into, but the clincher was me hiding in a closet in the middle of the night hoping the police would get there before the 2 men walking around my house came upstairs.
I knew I would never feel safe in that home again and decided to move to a condo. I’ve always wanted to live in the Central West End, and now that I was moving from a house to a condo, it was the right time. I chose a gated community and a 2nd story entrance so I would feel safe (which I do) and was ready to start exploring my new urban neighborhood.
But what really happened was that I found myself becoming a hermit. I thought by moving to a condo I would make friends with my neighbors. And that moving to the CWE would mean spending lots of time at restaurants and cafes and coffee shops.
Instead, I was alone at home.
I started thinking that I needed a pet again. Initially I thought about getting another cat, but I knew that while a cat would give me company, it wouldn’t encourage me to get outside. Getting a dog would mean lots of daily walks and lots of opportunities to meet people. Dog owners go to dog parks and dog parades and end of the summer pool parties. They socialize. I knew I needed that.
Then one of my real estate clients brought their Maltipoo to the closing of their home. I held the dog while they signed all of the papers, and I was hooked. I HAD to have a Maltipoo.
So I started scouring the PetFinder listings and going to meet some dogs. I wanted just the right dog. It turns out, it’s really hard to find a Maltipoo. Then I decided that a Maltipoo is just too small. I met a couple of cute dogs that I liked, but hesitated. Then I met Milo….you can read more about my search for Milo here and here.
Since the day I brought Milo home, nothing has been the same. I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I go on walks 3 times a day. I’ve met new friends and am exploring my neighborhood. I’ve become a complete dog lover and we stop and say hello to every dog we see.
Becoming a Dog Foster Parent:
Within weeks of adopting Milo, I started thinking about becoming a foster parent so I could help more dogs find homes. I’m not prepared to own 2 dogs of my own at this point. I plan to travel extensively at some point (hence the name of this website) and it will already be a challenge to figure out how to do that with Milo.
But Milo gets bored by himself. I spend much of my time working on the computer and he just sleeps or stares out a window.
He loves other dogs and had a great weekend at my Mom’s house when I took my first trip leaving him behind. My Mom and stepdad have a rescue dog too and it took about a day together and they became fast friends.
I know that Milo would be great with another dog in the home, and I keep thinking about all of the dogs I saw on PetFinder that were looking for adoptive homes. And all of the dogs in shelters that might not ever find a home. Then I learned about groups like Stray Rescue and Gateway Pet Guardians who are trying to save the dogs living on the streets. They don’t have enough foster homes or shelter space for all of the dogs they find, so they have volunteers who go out and feed the homeless dogs living on the streets every day. They get to know the dogs and when things get desperate or they find a litter of puppies, they bring those dogs in and scramble to find some place for them to go.
The rest of the dogs have to wait until there is a foster home willing to take them. Just today, Gateway Pet Guardians posted this picture on Facebook to their fosters hoping someone would have space for one more dog.
This guy wanted rescue today but we need a foster asap. We can get him today if we have a foster. 1yo lab/hound mix male. A lover boy.
Between seeing the dogs left behind in the shelters and watching some rescue videos of dogs on the streets, I knew I had to get involved.
There are so many good rescue groups out there, making it hard to decide where to volunteer. I asked my Facebook friends if they could recommend a group that wasn’t too far from where I live and I had several recommendations for Gateway Pet Guardians. After reading through everything they have online, I knew it was the right fit.
I’m just getting started. I filled out an application online to foster and talked to someone from the organization on the phone. I had a home visit from another volunteer and they checked with my vet as a reference.
Yesterday, I officially was approved to foster their rescues.
Before I just jump in and foster a dog, I’m going to find some time in the next week to go to their emergency shelter. They get a lot of puppies and I want to make sure I am prepared for puppies before I say yes to take them in. I also need to make sure that there will be someone to provide vacation fostering for any dogs I foster since I’ve got a couple of things coming up in the next few months which will take me out of town.
If you are a dog lover and don’t want to foster yourself, but are willing to babysit my foster dogs when I have to go out of town on occasion, let me know so we can get you set up as a temporary foster parent.
One of the other things I plan to do for Gateway Pet Guardians is help get the word out about the dogs and cats looking for permanent homes. Starting today, I will be featuring one of Gateway’s adoptable pets each weekend. I hope you will subscribe to this site so you can help me find these deserving dogs and cats homes by sharing their stories.